The Washington Wizards gave the Golden State Warriors their most recent loss in a string of disappointing performances for the Dubs. Washington had one of their best shooting performances of the season and the Warriors' recent string of mediocrity continued in a 123-115 loss.
The Warriors fell behind early once again, trailing the Wizards by as many as nine points early in regulation. Washington by no means got off to a hot offensive start, but the Warriors shot just 33.3% from the field in the first quarter. With two minutes left in the first, Dub Nation collectively held its breath:
Jordan Poole appears to be in some pain on the bench as he grabs the right side of his lower back.— Madeline Kenney (@madkenney) March 27, 2022
Jordan Poole has been one of the Warriors' few bright spots over the past month, and with Stephen Curry’s return still uncertain, Golden State has needed every bit of Poole’s offensive firepower. Who knows how dire things could get offensively if he was forced to miss an extended period of time. Luckily, after appearing on the sideline in some pain, Poole returned to the game at the end of the first quarter and played throughout the rest of the game.
With Poole on the bench towards the end of the first, a lineup of Gary Payton II, Klay Thompson, Otto Porter Jr., Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney generated a solid run, cutting the Wizards lead to 28-24.
The second quarter followed a similar trend. The Wizards found a rhythm from deep and pushed the lead all the way up to 17 before the Warriors began dominating in one key area: free throws. While Washington took just 3 foul shots in the first half, the Dubs were 17-for-19 at the line. Despite continued struggles from the field, Golden State used the referee’s whistle to close the gap. The Wizards led 59-51 at the half.
Neither team shifted the trajectory of the game in the third quarter, with the Wizards failing to pull away while the Warriors seemed unable to pull within 7 points. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Wizards led 92-81.
It was more of the same in the fourth quarter. The Wizards shooting output dipped slightly but far outpaced the Warriors, who continued drawing fouls at an impressive clip. Golden State had some opportunities to make it close once again. With two minutes left in regulation, Andrew Wiggins could have brought the Warriors within six points on a made three, but his shot rimmed out.
In the final minute, the Wizards missed several free throws and Poole made a pair of baskets at the rim to help cut the lead all the way to five, but the final score undersells the disparity in this game. Washington led from start to finish and the Warriors looked like the worse team the whole way through.
Corey Kispert and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were the main reason Washington controlled the game. The two wings started 17-for-20 from the field (9-for-12 from three) with 45 points. It was actually Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis that prevented them from putting the Dubs away sooner. Porzingis started 4-for-15 from the field. However, in the final minutes, Porzingis drew multiple fouls to keep the Dubs at bay. He finished with 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Led by Kispert and Caldwell-Pope, the Wizards made nearly 60% of their three-point attempts while the Warriors made less than 25% of theirs. Wiggins and Thompson led the Dubs offense with 23 and 25 points respectively, but Poole had one of his least efficient games in recent memory (scoring 26 on 8-for-25 shooting from the field) and was the only other Golden State player with more than 14 points.
Still, the Warriors' defensive struggles were once again the larger cause of their loss. The Wizards did have some incredible shooting nights from players like Kispert and Caldwell-Pope, but the Dubs also gave Washington plenty of room to operate. Ultimately, even in Steph’s absence, it is the Golden State’s inability to return to their early-season defensive dominance that is driving their recent skid.
The Warriors will not have much time to reflect on this loss before they are back in action. They will travel to Memphis tonight and take on the flaming hot Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow, March 28th at 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. After tonight’s loss, the Dubs are four games behind the Grizzlies for the second seed in the Western Conference and are 2.5 games ahead of the Jazz.
There’s no postgame show today on the first half of a back-to-back. However, you can still follow our own Marc Delucchi over on Twitch to be added to his Discord and receive notifications for future streams.